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Thread: Matching the light to the usage

  1. #1
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Matching the light to the usage

    During activities cleaning up our house for sale and eventual move to a 2-bedroom apt (kids long since out of the nest), I had a fairly intense multi-day opportunity to watch different flashlights in use by various family members, none of whom could be considered flashaholics.

    Flashlights in use: SC60, SC51, SC51w, H51F, H502, Fenix LD01 on 10440. I have other lights from 4Sevens, Fenix and Sunwayman, but they were not used or wanted, mostly because they were physically too large. Small and bright was the key. Lumens between 100-200+ were useful. LED coloration and beam pattern became the distinguishing factors.

    Distances from flashlight to surface being viewed: most of the time a meter or so, but normally less than 3 meters. Surface colors ranged from dark stained wood to pastel colors on painted surfaces. Small detail objects were being viewed or looked for.

    Activities:
    1. Cleaning the ceilings/walls/floors, especially behind all furniture or pictures. lots of dust, cobwebs and sad to say, mold!
    2. Assembly of replacement furniture from Ikea. As anyone who has moved more than once knows, the focus becomes smaller, lighter, fewer. Get rid of anything that requires 2 adult males to move! Most of the furniture in furniture stores is far too large and heavy when it comes time to move - unless a company pays the cost of professional movers.
    3. Comparing paint strips for shades of coloration and coordination.

    Commentary:
    3. Comparing paint strips: All other lights were quickly eliminated in favor of the SC51w. Although the coloration of the "w" was a bit too warm for my taste, it was far better than all of the other cool white LEDs that I normally prefer. Room lamps were either too warm or too cool in color, hence the use of the SC51w. The Sun was either hiding behind clouds or on the other side of the Planet.

    2. Assembly of replacement furniture from Ikea: This is where the H502 was at a strong disadvantage because of the wide-angle flood light - it was too wide. With 2 people working on assembly, the flood light from the H502 was often bothersome to the other person. The H51F was more appropriate because of the diffuse and broad spot with lots of flood which was still limited in width.

    1. Cleaning ceilings/walls/floors: Here is where the H502 demonstrated the advantage of such a very broad flood light. It was nice to have a flood light to find mold as well as cobwebs & dust on walls. The H51F was a very close second because I could lay the light on the wall to shine the diffuse spot along the flat surface - which quickly lit up any objects sticking to the walls, or even the uneveness of the sheetrock.

    Summary: Headlamps were highly effective, no matter whether on or off the forehead. The SC51w was the obvious winner for coloration shades between paint strips. The H502 was comparatively ineffective in anything other than pure flood usage and relatively close to the object/surface being viewed. The H51F with it's diffuse spot and liberal, but edge-limited flood was very useful. The SC60, SC51, LD01 etc were simply cool-white flashlights useful for laying on the floor set on the highest output to look for lost objects.

    Path forward: My daughter absconded with the SC51w. That was my only non-cool-white LED. Based on our collective experiences, I will probably purchase an H51Fw as a replacement.

    Caveat: The event was limited to a single-room environment. Nothing outside.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Matching the light to the usage

    It's clear from your post the most versatile light is one with a warm floody beam that can throw a little. I am looking to simplify my life by having just 2 lights and one backup. My H51w with a diffusion film has been serving me well for over a year now. I so wish Zebralight would make an H52, one that's brighter and throws a little further than the H51. The main reason the H502w will be of any interest to me is because of its small size. For a minimalist EDC style, every ounce and millimeter lighter and smaller count.

    Thanks for post. It's good hear how others use their ZL lights.
    Last edited by davidt1; 07-21-2012 at 07:55 AM.
    EDC: Zebralight H52w; Backup/loaner: Olight i3S
    Zebralight Mods: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=293092
    The only useful tool is the one you have with you when you need it.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Matching the light to the usage

    Start off by saying that I 100% agree the use must be matched to the light. So much of the bloviation on this forum is done by people claiming a light is "better" or "best" without specifying a particular use. Some are hell-bent on finding the best "all around light" which simply means an all-around compromise. That said, we can disagree even on matching light to use. For example:

    Quote Originally Posted by moldyoldy View Post
    Assembly of replacement furniture from Ikea: This is where the H502 was at a strong disadvantage because of the wide-angle flood light - it was too wide. With 2 people working on assembly, the flood light from the H502 was often bothersome to the other person.
    I just ran into a similar situation...and came to the opposite conclusion. This was a night-time job, re-roofing a garage. Two of us working. The other guy had not thought to bring a light. My H502's beam was wide enough that we could BOTH work in the beam of the light. If the contractor had been looking at me instead of working, then maybe a problem. But we were both tasked focused, nailing down shingles, and the wide beam saved the night. We got the job done because two of us could work in the wide beam.

    Point being, even when you specify a particular situation, you still can't speak categorically about "best" or "better," some other variable will pop up and change the equation.

    Quote Originally Posted by davidt1 View Post
    It's clear from your post the most versatile light is one with a warm floody beam that can throw a little.
    It depends. For some situations, yes. For many of my uses (most of them revolving around work), throw is seldom needed and can be a drawback. So for me the H51 and H51f are less useful.

    I have an SD52 attached to my work helmet. When the job calls for throw, I simply replace the standard "nonreflector" and screw in the reflector bezel, and I've got it. (Doesn't get used much as the 120 flood is very useful for my type of work.)

    Again, threaded bezels allow us to customize and tweak until we've got the beam matched to the task. Zebralight would rather sell you another light than give you a threaded bezel. So we get endless discussions arguing about which model is "best," with each person basing "best" on his/her individual needs, which may miss the mark for someone else.

    So if you like a throwy flood, good! But don't campaign ZL to stop production of a pure flood just because you don't find it as useful. Some of us find it extremely useful. To each his own.
    Last edited by Bolster; 07-21-2012 at 11:08 AM.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Matching the light to the usage

    Quote Originally Posted by davidt1 View Post
    It's clear from your post the most versatile light is one with a warm floody beam that can throw a little.
    It's important to note that there was a caveat.

    Quote Originally Posted by moldyoldy View Post
    Caveat: The event was limited to a single-room environment. Nothing outside.

  5. #5

    Default

    Money is always in short supply here, especially for a 60+$ flashlight that I'd never even handled. I read threads here extensively for weeks before ordering not one but three H51Fc, one for me, two as gifts. Confirmation bias notwithstanding, I've never had any regrets and the light has lived on my person for the last 7 months, minus an uncomfortable six weeks where I lent it to a friend.
    I'm looking forward to eventually owning an SC80w, H600w, H502c, and a spare H51Fc.
    For me the floody 4000K 85< CRI headlight model is just about the ideal compromise. What it lacks in brightness and reach it more than makes up for with superior utility for 95+% of my lighting needs.
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

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